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Delving into Higher Education with the Enhancing Higher Education Program

A group of people in front of the KTH building
Published Oct 26, 2023

Learning in STEM, from the Department of Learning in Engineering Science, in collaboration with the International Relations Office hosted a week-long capacity-building training program called the Enhancing Higher Education program.

Thirty-eight educational leaders from Georgia, Germany, Portugal, Nigeria, and Ukraine, attended the various workshops and presentations facilitated by KTH educators and researchers covering different aspects of educational concepts. They networked, collaborated in groups, and shared experiences to begin their own explorations of educational transformation within their respective universities and institutions. 

The week included

  • The “Quality Assurance workshop” explored quality assurance processes from national to course level, with an emphasis on high-quality education and research.
  • Several groups of people looking at the presentation and working together
    The ”Enhancing Higher Education workshop” discussed educational arenas, faculty development, societal cooperation, and active student participation in educational development.
  • ” Sustainable Development in Education” looked at the urgency of integrating sustainability into higher education, highlighting its impact, challenges, and practical practices in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • ” Digital Learning in Higher Education” explored institutional strategies for digital transformation, emphasising the pedagogical use of digital technologies and the creation of accessible digital content.
  • “Rethinking Engineering Education” introduced the “CDIO approach”, which aligns engineering education with professional practice, technical fundamentals, and student competence.
A group of people working on a large pirce of paper together
  • ” Cost-effective Educational Development” addressed the challenges of traditional teaching paradigms to improve student learning without increasing teacher workload.
  • Student involvement as a fundamental part of the university's development was highlighted in the "Student Influence at KTH"presentation.
  • The final presentation “Framework for Future Education” presented the new KTH change program that provides a long-term, holistic perspective to structure and ensure the continuous improvement of higher education at KTH.

Trained over 350 participants

The program has evolved significantly since 2016 and has trained over 350 participants from 19 countries. Enhancing Higher Education measures its impact by cultivating a "train-the-trainer" mindset, equipping participants with tools to instigate change in their own institutions. Innovative teaching methods and strategies often emerge from the program's sessions and workshops. Since its conception, the collaboration with KTH’s International Relations Office has been essential in the feasibility of the activities. 

Workshop leaders and participants often learn by expanding their own toolbox and listening to challenges and success stories from other participants. The program serves as a collection of examples directly linked to education and the future of education at KTH.

Interview with Viktor Kordas

Who is the Senior Advisor International Projects and has been involved from the start of the program.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I work on Project support for Capacity Building projects. Capacity building projects comprise an important instrument for development of deeper cooperation with institutions worldwide.

Our approach is to provide support for KTH teachers, researchers and administrative staff on all stages of project implementation from idea and application development to final reporting. In this work, I closely cooperate with the colleagues at Project Support as well as other project stakeholders both at KTH and outside the organization.

Any notable achievements or milestones the program has reached since its launch?

The EHE concept with the integration of important aspects of teaching and learning into a 1-week program became a very successful instrument. During the years participants from EU neighboring countries, MENA, Latin America, Africa, and Asia took part in the course. It also became an attractive tool within UNITE! and the first course within UNITE! was organized in Lisbon with the participation of 7 teachers from KTH in July 2023.

Are there any new or innovative teaching methods, strategies, or trends that have emerged from the program's sessions and workshops?

Student-centered teaching and learning are currently a very hot topic in the European Higher Education Area and EHE provides an essential toolkit for practical implementation. A wide range of practices are presented and discussed that provide opportunities for the teachers to elaborate and apply the instruments in their context.

How does the program ensure that its content remains up-to-date and relevant to the evolving needs of educators?

Before each new EHE course, the team from KTH Learning in STEM together with the International Relations Office conducts a preparatory study with the participants who plan to attend the course to understand better their needs and expectations. This helps to keep the content up-to-date and include new topics (as this year it was inclusivity and accessibility in higher education).

Any insights into the diversity and international representation among the participants, and how this diversity enhances the learning experience?

While last year EHE involved participants from MENA and LA countries, this year the participants came from Ukraine, Georgia, Nigeria, Portugal, and Germany. This resulted in the sharing of best practices elaborated in different parts of the world, horizontally among the participants. It is essential to have such an activity as face-to-face as the discussions during coffee breaks and free time are important and include a lot of topics that were not in the focus originally.

Are there any plans or initiatives to further expand the reach or impact of the program in the future?

It is important to mention that EHE became possible because of the international activities of KTH. Participants from other countries could join the course using the funding provided by the Erasmus program of the European Union and Swedish Institutes. As a result of meeting each other, the course participants discussed ideas for new projects and applications for funding from the EU and SI to support the implementation of new ways of teaching in their respective universities.

Feedback from some of the participants

” João Bastos adjunct professor portrait

We have implemented some of these ideas at our university, but they are still in the early stages, the practical tips I got from this program will be very useful”

João Bastos adjunct professor from Polytechnic of Porto (IPP) in Portugal

Iryna Shvets portrait

“The program had a very useful style of different ways to present educational development that helped me on the logic of building courses, and it was great collaborating with the other participants”

Iryna Shvets Professor and vice-rector for international relations at Donetsk National Technical University in Ukraine

essor Bourdillon Omijeh portrait

“The program on enhancing higher education organized by KTH this year was a huge success. I enjoyed every bit of it. The presenters were outstanding. The program execution was fantastic. The content and knowledge gained was huge and insightful. Special thanks to you and your great team”.

Professor Bourdillon Omijeh, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria